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Voice Recording From Missing Flight MH370 Was Edited
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Voice Recording From Missing Flight MH370 Was Edited
05/03/2014 18:15 -0400
It has been nearly two months since Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
disappeared without a trace on March 8. Since then, despite the endless
coverage of CNN, there has been absolutely no progress in uncovering any
clues about the fate of the missing Boeing 777. Perhaps the following
may provide some clarity on why.
On Thursday, for the first time, 7 minutes of audio recordings of the
final conversations between pilots of the missing Malaysian jet and
teams of air traffic controllers on the ground were released.
The recording can be heard he
There is one problem: the recordings were "edited" leading many to
wonder if the entire conversation wasn't fabricated on a sound stage,
and if so: why? And just what is the Malaysian government (either alone
or in conjunction with other countries) hiding.
NBC has mo
Analysts who listened to the recordings for NBC News did not know
why they were edited, but discovered at least four clear breaks in the
audio that indicated edits.
"It's very strange," said audio-video forensic expert and registered
investigator Ed Primeau of Primeau Forensics, who has analyzed hundreds
of audio recordings. He said the beginning and end of the recording are
high-quality with a low noise floor, meaning ambient background noise is
almost silent, unlike the middle.
"At approximately 1:14 (a minute, 14 seconds into the audio, which
can be heard here), the tone of the recording change to where to me, it
sounds like someone is holding a digital recorder up to a speaker, so
it's a microphone-to-speaker transfer of that information. That's a
pretty big deal because it raises the first red flag about there
possibly being some editing," he said.
The next part that raises questions is two minutes, six seconds in,
through two minutes, nine seconds in, he said.
"I can hear noise in the room, along with the increase in the noise
floor. I can hear a file door being closed, I can hear some papers being
shuffled. so I'm further convinced that, beginning at 1:14 continuing
through 2:06 to 2:15, it's a digital recorder being held up to a
Long gaps in the communication throughout the recording also imply
some editing, he said.
"But yet, at 6:17, there's a huge edit because the conversation is
cut off. It's interrupted. And the tone changes again," he said. "The
noise floor, when you're authenticating a recording from a forensic
perspective, is a very important part of the process. All of a sudden,
we go back to the same quality and extremely low noise floor that we had
at the beginning of the recording."
Kent Gibson, a forensic audio examiner with Forensic Audio in Los
Angeles, added that there appear to be additional edits at 2:11 and
5:08, and agreed it sounded as though the middle section was recorded
with a microphone near a speaker.
"You can hear, at 4:07, pages turning or a person breathing, which
is unusual," he said.
While it's not uncommon for the background of a recording to change
when a cockpit communication turns over from ground control to air
controllers ó which happened about four minutes into this recording ó
that doesn't explain the noises that are heard.
"It's not unusual that there would be clicks when they push the
button on the microphone, but it's very unusual to have a disturbance.
Normally you wouldn't have any background," Gibson said.
A cut-off word also isn't out of the realm of possibility, he said.
"It wouldn't be unthinkable to have a truncated word because if
somebody let go of the trigger on the microphone, it might cut off their
word," he said. "But it would be very unusual to find a background
differential at the same time, suggesting that Malaysian authorities or
whoever presented this made edits for whatever reason."
So why did the authorities fabricate the recording? Simple: the pilot
said something the government did not want leaked:
Gibson said itís possible the tapes could have been edited by
Malaysian authorities "if the pilot dropped a hint that they didn't want
to get out, if he said something that doesn't fit with the Malaysian
government's party line."
But, he said, "It's more likely to be an inadvertent thing. But it's
not the way to handle evidence."
The recording also could have come from different sources, he added.
"You can assume that the recording while they're still on the ground
came from the tower and then you could assume that the communication
with air controllers was while they're in the air," he said. "They may
have just mishandled the cobbling of it together."
This doesn't necessarily prove anything about the investigation, he
added. "Unfortunately, there are no smoking guns, except there are
edits. And there are clear edits," he said.
So no smoking guns, except... there are smoking guns. "There's things
that have to do with timelines and radar that they have available, but
they don't make them available," said Tom Owen, a consultant for Owen
Forensic Services audio analysis and chairman emeritus of the American
Board of Recorded Evidence. "They wouldn't give you anything that would
be enlightening for the public to any secretive information. I don't see
that as a problematic issue."
Considering several hundred people are missing, presumed dead,
purposefully covering up critical clues as to what happened is certainly
a problematic issue, even if thanks to the government's botched up
handling of the situation, it does impart a significant dose of morbid
humor to the following advertisement from Malaysian Airlines.
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